Chelsea woman gives birth — in the backseat of a cab
Updated: May 17, 2022
By JENNIFER FERMINO and PETE DONOHUE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS | OCT 10, 2014 AT 2:30 AM
Is there a doctor in the cab?
Why, yes — well, an "almost-doctor," anyway.
Sarah Steinhaus was in labor in the back of a yellow taxi en route to Mount Sinai Hospital on the Upper East Side on Monday when Midtown rush-hour traffic forced her husband's backup plan into action — and it worked to perfection.
Steinhaus' brother-in-law, Michael Steinhaus, a fourth-year medical student who hopped into the cab at his brother's direction, orchestrated the delivery of his nephew in the taxi's back seat. William Steinhaus was born on Madison Ave. near E. 56th St. at 6:56 p.m., weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces and measuring 20 3/4 inches.
"He's perfect!" his mother told the Daily News, still astonished by her boy's unusual entrance into the world.
"I can't believe that I get in a cab and 20 minutes later I'm delivering a baby," Sarah added. "It's crazy. That it happened in a cab is surreal."
Sarah and her husband, Joel, a Citigroup executive, were calm as William's projected Oct. 12 due date neared. They've been on this roller-coaster before: They have two young daughters: Alexandra, 3, and Ellie, 2.
At about 5:45 p.m. Monday, Sarah, a 37-year-old manager at an international media company, alerted her inner circle to meet at the family's Chelsea apartment. She was getting close. "I was feeling uncomfortable standing," she recalled. "I thought, 'Okay. This is starting. I've done this before. This is starting.' I thought I had four to five hours, which is a lifetime when you only have to get to Mount Sinai."
Then, at 6:10 p.m., her water broke. Joel was not home, but he called for an audible: He told his brother to ride with Sarah and her best friend, Joanna Carver.
"I was like, 'Send the med student, send the almost-doctor,' " Joel said. "Just in case. It couldn't hurt."
The group departed in Osama Hassan's cab, which Carver had hailed earlier, at about 6:30 p.m. Sarah was quickly in a "serious state of pain," she recalled.
Traffic slowed the cab to a crawl up Madison Ave. Sarah was stoic, but the pain was terrible.
Happy parents Sarah and Joel Steinhaus hold baby William Steinhaus after a very special delivery. (Susan Watts/New York Daily News)
Michael asked Hassan to pull over between E. 55th and E. 56th Sts. Mount Sinai, at Madison Ave. and E. 100th St., was still a long way away. He wanted to check on Sarah.
"I didn't know we had progressed as far as we had," Michael said. "I expected to continue on to the hospital. But I opened up the back door and the first thing I see is the baby's head is crowned." Carver anxiously updated Joel by phone and called 911 for an ambulance while Hassan kept pedestrians at a respectful distance from the cab.
The calm doctor-to-be put on a pair of surgical gloves and gave Sarah instructions to push. "I'm not feeling nervous. I'm not feeling modest. I'm not feeling confused. My body is just in the mode," she said.
Less than a minute after Michael first asked her to push, William was born.
The ambulance soon arrived, and Carver informed paramedics they wanted to go uptown to Mount Sinai.